Arabs' rally falls short
Imperial Valley College's Lawanda Watson sprints thorugh MiraCosta College defenders with the ball Wednesday at IVC. (FERNANDO ACOSTA JR. PHOTO)
“The girls played hard and stayed in the game,” IVC coach Michael Benton said. “We had a chance to win it and came up short. We kept fighting and fighting. It’s been like this the whole season. We dig a hole and we fight back and then we run out of steam at the end. I’m very proud of our effort.”
MiraCosta (8-14, 4-5 PCAC) jumped out to a 33-16 lead.
The Arabs (5-14, 2-8 PCAC) switched from a zone defense to man-to-man to try to slow down Megan Fennessey, who had 18 points and was 5-of-6 on 3-pointers at that stage of the game. Fennessey didn’t score another point in the first half and IVC narrowed the gap to 41-32.
IVC went on a 14-6 run early in the second half to get within two, 54-52, on Akayla Bell’s basket off a drive down the lane with 10 minutes, 50 seconds remaining.
Bell’s offensive rebound and basket tied it, 56-56, with 7:50 remaining.
MiraCosta scored the next six points, but the Arabs wouldn’t say die and tied it, 64-64, on Abril Alonso’s 3-pointer with three minutes left.
Katie Salyer’s 3-pointer put MiraCosta up, 67-64.
The Arabs had several chances to score, missing a 3-pointer and the front end of a one-and-one free throw, during the next two minutes. But their man-to-man pressure kept MiraCosta from scoring, too.
Bell scored inside and IVC trailed 67-66 with 49 seconds left. Bell was fouled on the play and had a chance to tie, but missed the free throw.
With the Arabs forced to foul, MiraCosta took advantage to make four straight free throws in the final 47 seconds.
Bell had 19 points and nine rebounds. Sophia Leyva scored 13, Lawanda Watson had 12 points, Valerie Carrillo and Alonso six each, Jocelyn Riley and Melissa Vasquez four each and Natalie Martinez two for the Arabs.
IVC’s next game is Friday at San Diego City.